The word comes from ‘pieds-tanques’, the feet against each other. The game is also played on the leafy village squares, mostly by men. The game with the metal balls comes from the South of France and is also practiced there to your heart’s content. Everyone can learn it, so also the Dutch who want to throw a ball in the new home on the campsite or on the playground or market square. It is a relaxed way to get to know people better. Whoever has mastered the game can also participate in tournaments. One must then be a member of a club.
That little wooden ball is called a but (say box) or cochonette. The idea is that from the throwing circle with the metal balls is thrown as close as possible to that but. The game is played with two teams, usually consisting of two or three people (doublettes or triplets). With two people they play with three balls and with three people with two. The teams do not turn around, but the team whose boule is furthest away from the butts continues until there is a closer one that is closest to the other party. The points: one point per ball from the same team closest to the but. Winner is the team that has achieved 13 points first.
Those who enjoy fishing should be in possession of La Carte, a compulsory membership of an association, affiliated with the AAPPMA (Association agréée pour la pêche et la protection du milieu aquatique). The card is issued by the departmental federation, hence the general erroneous name Fédérale for the card. A fishing permit (carte de pêche) card can be obtained from every merchant is to buy fishing supplies (marchand d’articles de pêche), at a fishing club or – in small places – at the cafes (the famous Tabacs). Holiday cards (valid from 1 June to 30 September) cost € 12 and day tickets € 3, advantageous for owners of second homes. For the stubborn anglers there are still year tickets from € 16 (simple fishing rod) to € 28 (casting rod with artificial and live bait). The fishing pass is valid for all public water, but is a privately owned bank, then the owner has the fishing right up to the water center. In any case, a valid fishing card always offers the right of way directly along the bank over private land. Fishing near locks and dams (barrages) is prohibited. A fine is imposed on the sale and purchase of freshwater fish caught by a non-professional fisherman. There is also a tax thought up, of which the amount (€ 3 to € 200) depends on the status of the fisherman, professional or amateur, what you fish (trout with the card in category 1 and perch, pike and zander with category 2), the period in which one wants to fish and the material. Part of the proceeds are used for the maintenance of fishing areas and for breeding.
Anyone who wants to hunt in France, the country that ignores the Brussels regulations on this point cheerfully and massively, must have a permit, a permis de chasser. France has included European directives in national legislation, but the mighty hunter’s lobby does not care much about it. The ‘hunting permit’ must be collected annually by the hunters at the town hall and is granted if an examination has been successfully taken. Adspirant hunters can attend a meeting explaining wildlife, hunting rules, ammunition and safety. In addition, they will have to study hard, do a theoretical exam and if they have passed a practical test. If you have enough for both parts, you will receive a certificate and on payment of the timbre fiscal of € 16 the novice hunter gets his hunting permit from the prefecture, valid for a year and a half. One has to appear there with forms, two passport photos and another € 32. The permis de chasser can be renewed yearly by the town hall, which costs € 12.50. If one wants to go hunting in the entire department or even in the whole of France, one has to be a member of a hunting club and pay € 47 and € 203 in yacht taxes respectively. Anyone who is caught by the gendarmerie while the license is not present, can be fined at least € 38. The hunter who haunts the French fauna with a shotgun and does not have the permis at all can get a ticket of at least at least € 1500 or even imprisonment.
In general you have to tolerate hunters on your territory, but they have to stay 150 meters away. You can shoot yourself within that area (preferably not on those hunters), provided there is a hunting license. Foreigners are limited in hunting, a Dutch hunting license does not apply. They can obtain a permit for hunting for 9 consecutive days. Such a license can be issued four times a year.
Principal opponents of the hunt can indicate the boundaries of their terrain and place signs of Chasse interdite. It can also be reported in the local newspaper that you are not allowed to hunt there and there. That prohibition only comes into effect in the year after the publication. You do not make you beloved by the French peasantry. Owners of large areas of land are obliged to keep the position of the harmful game at an acceptable level. Self-shooting is not allowed, because someone who has declared his territory as a prohibited hunting area will never receive a hunting license himself.
According to the ‘Verdeille’ law, recognized, municipal hunting associations, the so-called ACCAs, have an automatic hunting right on all areas of the municipality, including private land, but excluding private land that is larger than 20 ha. The 2000 Hunting Act states that a private individual can avoid this by submitting a written request to the prefect of the department. Only arguments of an ethical nature would be accepted (opposition de conscience ou philosophique). Another possibility to exclude hunters is to request the prefect and ACCA to have their site included in a reserve of the ACCA (nature reserve).
The country is richly endowed with golf courses: 360,000 persons with a license and a simple form of golf proficiency can visit the 523 courses with the French golf federation and another 637 admitted sites. The courses can be found near the big cities, on the coasts, in the middle of the country and in the mountain regions. In addition, the ‘compacts’ are on the rise, small areas near larger towns (Golf Compact Urbain) where low-cost (€ 10 to € 15) can be tolerated. Golf is the most practiced amateur sport in France after tennis, judo, horseback riding and ‘jeu de boules’. The average handicap of the Frenchman or woman is 26.9.
The French organization ffgolf (Fédération Française de Golf) can be found on the internet. A useful search program offers the possibility to quickly find a job and know its facilities. On this website anyone with a license can check their own golf history (handicap, performance competition etc.), unique to Europe. You can also consult your own index via SMS (at number 20220 ‘wave’).
Who wants to start golf in France (jouer au golf) is looking for a job in his environment and is looking for contact with a teacher, a pro. After following a number of lessons (turning, pitting, walking course) the pro decides whether or not one can qualify for a license. You pay € 42 for this. A liability insurance is included. Licenses are administered by the federation and can be followed on the internet.
Anyone who wants to play as an amateur golfer on other French courses or who wants to work on his first handicap, will need a Carte verte, say a kind of golf proficiency certificate. The possession of the card means that the golfer is able to walk an independent course, that he knows the most important rules and is also aware of etiquette. A Carte verte will as a rule be awarded if at least five times a 9-hole course has been run and when the pro has issued a statement. One must first have a license, only then can the Carte be worked. In a lock test the novice golfer has to show what he has learned. He or she can not sin more than 7 times against the rules of conduct, including 1 against the rules of security. The club extends the Carte verte in the form of a sticker that is pasted on the license card.
This French variant of the GVB, which is easier to acquire than the often feared exam for the GVB, is also valid when visiting the Netherlands. The Dutch Golf Federation (NGF) provides the following information:
The Carte verte can be equated with the Dutch golf proficiency certificate. A silver sticker must be affixed on the French card stating the text CARTE VERTE and the year or the ‘Carte verte obtenue’ entry with date and year.
As far as playing on Dutch courses with a Carte verte is concerned, the club or operator of a job is free to determine its own admission policy (for example, when the minimum requirement is the possession of a certain handicap).